As previously noted, this distinct systems viewpoint differs from the more conventional viewpoint, which holds that affect is always preceded by and arises as a result of cognitive activity. The majority of consumer behavior models follow in this post-cognitive tradition. They posit that individuals decide what attitudes they will adopt (i.e., beliefs and desires) based on their current thoughts and feelings.
Affective forecasting models, by contrast, begin with assumptions about how people's emotions influence their thinking and then use this knowledge to explain observed patterns in decisions that involve risk taking, impulsivity, and other behaviors associated with negative affect.
In short, affective forecasting models start with cognition and attempt to link it to subsequent feelings. This viewpoint is consistent with research showing that people often make decisions after they have thought about them (i.e., reflect upon their options), rather than immediately following perceptions of need or desire (i.e., automatic processes).
Cognition also plays an important role in emotional decision making. People consider different factors when making decisions that involve risks or rewards than when making simple choices between alternatives. For example, researchers have shown that individuals take into account both immediate feelings (i.e., needs or desires) and long-term goals when deciding whether to accept a job offer or not.
People also consider the consequences of their actions.
Affective processes comprise all pleasant and negative feelings and responses to emotion-laden behavior, information, or beliefs. Affect may change people's perceptions of events as well as the results of cognitive effort; it can also feed, stifle, or stop cognition and activity. Cognitive psychologists study emotions with an eye toward understanding how they work in people—how they are produced by thoughts and interpreted by brains—and how they influence thinking and behavior.
Affective processes are important in psychology because many mental processes depend on them. Feelings guide our actions and shape what we think about, so they play a key role in how we respond to situations and individuals around us. Emotions also help us decide which memories to keep and which to forget. Finally, emotions act as signals that tell us when something is wrong or right with our bodies or minds. Understanding emotions helps us understand people better.
Affective processes include feeling sad or afraid, loving or hating, and responding to others' behaviors. These are basic forms of emotional experience, but there are many other affective processes involved in more specific situations that have helped scientists understand certain types of behavior. For example, anxiety affects how we feel when faced with a threatening situation, anger makes us want to take action against those who hurt us, and guilt makes us want to do what's right.
Affective processes can be positive or negative.
Our ideas and perceptions of ourselves and others are referred to as social cognition. We acquire schemas and attitudes over time to help us better comprehend and interact with others. Affect refers to the feelings we have as a result of our experiences in life, and it encompasses both moods and emotions. Mood is a longer-lasting state of mind that tends to influence our experience of life generally, while emotion is a relatively short-lived psychological reaction pattern that can be either positive or negative in value. For example, anger is a negative emotion while frustration is a less intense form of disappointment that does not involve depression.
Cognition affects behavior by determining what will attract our attention, how we will interpret events, and what actions we will take. For example, if someone tells us that something is impossible, we should believe them since thinking things are possible makes them possible.
Affect also influences cognition and behavior. For example, feeling sad will make it harder to think clearly and act rationally. On the other hand, feeling happy will give you a boost of energy and make you more likely to take advantage of opportunities.
Finally, cognition also affects emotion and behavior. For example, if someone asks you why you look so sad, your brain automatically processes this information by triggering memories of past events and causing certain chemicals to be released into your body. These chemicals then cause facial muscles to contract and cause you to look sad.